Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Setting an Elegant Table

With the holidays and holiday parties upon us, I thought I'd share you some of my decorating tips.  Remember that Friday, Saturday and Sunday we're holding a barn sale.  These table-setting goodies are available at the sale!

When I set a table, it's a staging-in-motion.  Whether I am setting up a scene for my barn sale, or setting up to have guests over for dinner, the thought process is pretty much the same:  'How many people, where are we sitting, what are we eating," etc. 

Of course staging in a barn or (let's say) for a movie, is a little different than for an actual party at your home.  However, the one common thread to me is always  "drama," "impact," "wow factor.” 

For those sporadic times I entertain my friends at home, I appreciate the "wows" and in return, I am sure my guests appreciate seeing the time I put into "making it special."    So..... here's how I do it:

Start with a great table, bigger is better.  I'm not into dark brown woods, and I feature mostly whitewashed and distressed woods with beautiful textures in my barns and home.  Anything to create drama. 

Then....... look for your inner placemat girl.  I am currently using old roof slates, but who knows what's around the bend? ;-)  I cannot emphasize enough:  layering!  Make it richer than you really are! 

Next, you’ll need a charger, something larger than your dinner plate, just for OOMPH (it has not other use!)...  then find large dinner plates, very simple, and possibly more scalloped or adorned medium-size plates, and to top it off, smaller bowls for an hors d'oeuvre or a soup. 

For cutlery (or silverware as you call it here), you will need as many as you serve courses, so smaller knife and fork for starter or soup spoon; knife, fork and spoon for main course, and appropriate ware for your dessert choice.  It is fun to assemble good-quality vintage, or if you prefer, nice modern ware to offset your vintage plates?  I am all about combining old and new.  

Glassware too is important, especially when decorating with vintage dishes, the clean glass will give a lighter feel to the rest of the table.  I like big goblets for red and white wine and like to collect old stemware for shot glasses and cordials/cocktails etc. 

Lastly, I go for beautiful serving ware, such as platters, tureens, bowls etc.   Bigger and cleaner-looking is best, in my opinion, combine old and new, but keep lines clean, not fussy.  A beautiful silver-plated soup ladle is a worthy investment.  It makes soup look that much more delicious and is something you will cherish for years.  In fact, most of my serving pieces are vintage.  Some I have had re-silvered to prolong their life!   

Which brings me to napkin rings:  another great item to collect!  So fun to have a mix-match of different styles and to unify them with large, brandnew, clean linen or cotton-blend napkins!  Looks ueber classy.  During the holidays, I’m pairing ironstone with glittery ornaments—simply chic.

Good luck, send me pictures!


  1. So many beautiful things, Caroline. I am sorry not to make it this month, but hope to see you again in June!
    All best,

  2. Caroline, your style is impeccable and seemingly effortless! I know of about 10 people coming to your sale.

  3. Love the ideas you've shared !
    I would love to come to your sale...maybe next time!I have a son stationed at the navel base in would be a great excuse to stop in and see him

  4. Amazing selection, we designed our kitchen remodel around a heavy timber industrial table and have received numerous compliments. We are Ekster enthusiasts and are saving now for a return visit.

  5. This looks very farmhouse, but with a touch of elegance to it. I like how the earth-tones of the table and the tableware sort of fit with each other.

  6. I can feel the sophistication being exuded by these pieces. They definitely fit the vintage dining table look right there.

  7. It's really difficult to duplicate old-school rural charm in my opinion, considering how authenticity sometimes gets lost in the process. You managed to get over that though, and for that I am thoroughly impressed.

  8. You really can't do away with antiques, now more than ever. Antique furnishings and furniture are pretty much highly-coveted again, and they're definitely a great deal to snatch.

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